• Parent Newsletter
    Anxiety in Middle School
          Educators and parents have worked together for years to raise the standards of academic instruction and ensure each student has access to the most effective academic environment.  Students must be emotionally and physically ready to meet this challenge.  Many students, especially 6th graders and those new to the District, may experience stress and anxiety as they learn more about what is expected in middle school.  This can manifest itself in many ways.

    What are signs of anxiety?

    • Physical Complaints: Students experiencing anxiety often have physical complaints.  Headaches, nausea and stomachaches are often reported during stressful times.  These feelings are not imagined, however students and parents must understand that they can be stress related. 
    • Anger and Irritability:  Parents may observe that their child has become argumentative or has become overly emotional.  Crying, yelling or slamming doors may be more than just adolescent angst.
    • Restlessness and Difficulty Concentrating:  Some students experiencing anxiety, stress or worry may feel agitated and have a tough time paying attention in school or at home. 
    • Exhaustion:  While it is often difficult to wake middle school students for school, stress can also impact sleep.  Students may be angry in the morning, refuse to get up or complain that they are too tired to go to school.  They may also report difficulty falling or staying asleep.
    • Isolating:  Some students experiencing anxiety or stress will withdraw from activities with friends or family. 

    How can I help my child if I think they are anxious or worried about school?

    ·         Listen to their concerns.  Talk about it.  Let them know you care, and you understand that they are feeling a bit anxious.

    ·         Educate yourself and your child about anxiety and its symptoms.  Help your child understand that many people experience anxiety from time to time.  Reassure them that their anxiety will be reduced as they learn more about middle school and become more comfortable with their new routine.  Encourage perseverance.

    ·         Rule out any physical illness.  Speak with your family doctor to determine if a check-up is warranted.

    ·         Establish good habits.  Remind your child that avoiding new experiences may only increase feelings of anxiety.  Encourage use of their daily planner, regular study and sleep times, proper exercise and nutrition and social fun time.

    ·         Encourage your child to use stress relievers at school (deep breathing, getting a drink of water, running cool water over wrists, using humor).

    ·         Remember you are a role model. Monitor your own stress level and use effective personal stress management strategies.  Remain calm and reassuring when your child expresses worry.

    ·         Speak with your child’s counselor, school psychologist or social worker if you need additional suggestions or support.

    ·         Seek outside professional help if anxiety persists for several weeks, increases or significantly interferes with school performance or social experiences.